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How we build the fastest sites

We build super fast sites by doing three things that are less common than you might expect.

Fast Servers

Ok, this one is pretty basic, and many hosting companies will do alright on it. Having said that, it is quite common that unless you pay some pretty exorbitant prices, server utilization will be kept quite high – this saves the host money, but can make your site quite slow. Every moment of delay at the server is a moment that nothing happens after your user clicks on a link – the worst kind of delay, as many users will give up or after just a few moments of nothing happening.

Minimize Requests

A web page is made up of many separate elements: the html code, css and javascript files, and images. The html has to load before your browser can request anything else, then most browsers will request only a few other files at a time, so the fewer files, the faster the page loads. We work hard to keep the number of files small – often going outside of common “best practices”, as they are not actually the best for a smaller site like most we build (Google agrees!). Specifically, we actually place most css and javascript in-line instead of as separate files. We also use vector images where appropriate, and well sized and optimized images for everything. We try to reduce both the number and size of requests, but it is worth noting that a few larger requests will load considerably faster than more smaller requests.

Simple CSS

CSS (cascading style sheets) are how websites are formatted and styled. Because of how css works, some rules are much faster than others, even when the two choices have exactly the same result. We always try to use the fastest rule that accomplishes the result we want. We also avoid unused rules (completely unused rules are far more common than you would expect), as they still have to be loaded and evaluated, despite serving no purpose.